Tethered dogs are almost always neglected; ban all chaining in Fayette

Tue, 02/17/2009 - 4:30pm
By: Letters to the ...

Response to “Anti-tethering group works against dog owners”: The author of the letter in opposition to the proposed anti-tethering ordinance chooses to by-pass the harsh realities and widespread practice of long-term tethering.

Specifically, I would like to address the author’s comment: “I find it irresponsible that someone would want to take away the rights and benefits of responsible dog owners because of a few irresponsible dog owners abusing their dogs.”

Has this individual spoken to Fayette County Animal Control to acquire the statistics on the chaining and neglect cases reported and investigated?

If she did, she would learn that the majority of the county’s neglect cases involve permanently tethered dogs and that the vast majority of chained dogs are permanently chained, not temporarily tethered for training or other reasonable purposes.

The dogs chained “responsibly” are few, while the dogs chained permanently, neglected and/or abused are the majority.

This is a fact, not speculation, in Fayette County and throughout Georgia. Most chained dogs are chained permanently, every hour of every day, as a primary means of restraint and enclosure.

The issues addressed by the proposed ordinance are long-term tethering and long-term confinement. Though it may be necessary for the ordinance to include short-term tethering by requiring a dog be attended by its owner while temporarily tethered, this aspect of the ordinance is a necessary by-product for enforcement of a chaining ban. It would be impossible for animal control officers to determine the amount of time a dog is tethered, making a total ban necessary.

One has to ask how constituents (be they handicapped, ill or elderly) who can’t bring their dogs indoors, take them for walks or provide fencing are physically and financially able to take their dogs to the vet for annual checkups and vaccinations.

Though I sympathize with the owners being elderly or handicapped, these are not justification for neglecting a dog.

A person’s dog has no resource other than his/her owner. If that owner cannot care for the dog, that owner owes it to the dog to find an owner who can. A person’s age or disability is not justification for depriving a dog of what he needs for physical and emotional well-being.

The scenarios presented by the author are argumentative and do not address the harsh realities of the hundreds of dogs living chained in Fayette County. If there are no better arguments in opposition to the ordinance than these, then I believe you have a viable, necessary ordinance that cannot be put into effect soon enough.

For more than a decade, I have witnessed the sad, disheartening sights and sounds of dogs on chains. I do not believe that my sensibilities and those of the citizens from whom you’ve heard support of the ordinance are unique. I believe we represent the sensibilities of all compassionate Fayette County residents and all compassionate human beings.

In January of this year in Georgia, a 5-year-old girl in Thomasville was killed by her family’s three chained dogs, two chained dogs froze to death in Toombs County and another in Oconee County. What more needs to be said?

I urge the Board of Commissioners to pass the proposed ordinance on chaining dogs. The practice of chaining is antiquated, cruel and a public safety hazard.

Chamblee Abernethy

Decatur, Ga.

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Submitted by TyroneTerror on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 11:40am.

its the fact that passing an ordinance against tethering puts normal law abiding citizens in jeopardy.

Like PTCAvenger and PTCMom678...I tether my dog outside sometimes during good weather. Sometimes its just so he can lay in the sunshine, other times its so he can be outside with me while I'm doing yard work and such. You should come by my house and see how deprived he is while he is laying on his back asleep in the sun, or while he's digging a hole in the yard to bury his bone in. Yep, he is so abused.

Chamblee Abernethy, get out of Fayette County's business!

Submitted by ptcmom678 on Wed, 02/18/2009 - 7:28am.

1) We tether our dog for maybe 4-6 hours when we're home, in good weather only (arthritis - on HER part), with water, and food (for the first five minutes she's out- after that it's scarfed). She likes being out, is played with outside, has toys, and is doted upon inside. She also has at least one 45 minute walk per day with her family. She is not neglected. She has her own self-designated couch spot. Stop me when it sounds like she's being abused.

2) Chamblee Abernethy lives in Decatur, and I'm assuming owns no property in Fayette County, and thus has absolutely no stake in the county, and therefore no say in the county. Would a better course not be to have a Fayette County taxpayer and registered voter present this to the Board of Commissioners? Sticking your nose directly in someone else's sweet potatoes is not being very neighborly. Decatur residents would quite rightly look askance at Fayette County residents trying to put forth such an agenda. It's a little like voting - if you don't vote, you can't complain about election results.

Submitted by CombatJournalist on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 11:40pm.

Chamblee Abernathy wrote:
"the majority of the county’s neglect cases involve permanently tethered dogs and that the vast majority of chained dogs are permanently chained, not temporarily tethered for training or other reasonable purposes."

Ms. Abernathy recently sent photos to the Fayette County Commissioners stating they were photos of "Chained and neglected dogs in Fulton and Fayette Counties" that later turned out to be untrue. By her own admission, the photos were of dogs someplace else. They were sent simply to make a point and push her agenda. An agenda based on lies.

So, Abernathy's answer to this problem is to PUNISH EVERYONE for the few that neglect?

Ms. Chamblee states the difference between neglect and "training and other reasonable purposes". She clearly states that dogs can be tethered for training and other reasonable purposes. Make an ordinance that is REASONABLE.

So why punish everyone? Just because it's easier?

The abuse and neglect laws are already on the books!! Use those instead of making up new laws/ordinances!!

NONE of us want to see dogs tied out and neglected for long periods of time. What Abernathy and her "people" want is very similar to what we would like to see. The difference is that we, like all sensible FAYETTE COUNTY RESIDENTS, want reason and good sense that doesn't punish everyone for the faults of few. Abernathy wants to go after everyone, good and bad just to push her agenda.

What's next on her agenda? MS. Abernathy has already been quoted as saying, "If you don't have fenced in yard, you don't deserve to have a dog!"

THIS is the mentality of the person pushing hard for this Tethering BAN.


Submitted by CombatJournalist on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 11:18pm.

Chamblee Abernathy wrote:
"Though I sympathize with the owners being elderly or handicapped, these are not justification for neglecting a dog."

Are you implying that by being elderly or disabled, they are automatically neglecting their dogs?

People with disabilities don't need your sympathy. They need their service animals.

As someone who has TRAINED service animals personally, we KNOW the needs of the disabled. Have you EVER trained a dog? Have you ever spent enough time with a dog to train it for any meaningful work? Do you KNOW anyone personally with a Service Dog?

I doubt it. If you did, you would be truly sympathetic to their needs. You obviously do not understand the bond between them and their Service Dogs or how to train one. We do. Personally.

You would deprive these people of their quality of life just to prove your point.

You don't have sympathy, you simply have an agenda!!

Michael and Claudia Clifton

Submitted by CombatJournalist on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 11:03pm.

Chamblee Abernathy wrote:
"I believe we represent the sensibilities of all compassionate Fayette County residents and all compassionate human beings."

Chamblee Abernathy also signed her letter:
Chamblee Abernethy
Decatur, Ga.

We need you to come to Fayette County to represent us? I thought we elected our commissioners to represent US and what WE want. NOT what YOU want? My family DOES vote in Fayette County. We have voted in EVERY election for the past 19 years. I do not recall seeing YOUR name on any FAYETTE COUNTY ballot seeking to represent me.

You don't represent me or any other clear thinking Fayette County resident. All you represent are the liberal, tree hugging PETA types who are against all pet ownership.

Chamblee Abernathy wrote:
"Compassionate human beings"

As a "compassionate human being" you and those like you would deprive all good and decent people who are responsible pet owners of the ability to keep their pets in order to stop a few people who you beleive to be abusing their dogs? You already have a state code that lays out what constitutes abuse and neglect. Why not enforce the code that is already on the books?

Let's throw the baby out with the bath water, right, Chamblee?

Michael and Claudia Clifton

Submitted by iodiane on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 8:18pm.

An anti-tethering ordinance makes sense. It prevents individuals from treating dogs in a harmful and inhumane way. It also protects individuals from aggressive and hostile dogs. The exaggeration of the effect of an ordinance by some individuals seems disingenuous. If you support an anti-tethering ordinance in Fayette County, please plan to attend the County Commissioners meeting where this will be discussed...March 4, 3:30 PM, at the Stonwall Complex.

Diane Beal

Evil Elvis's picture
Submitted by Evil Elvis on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 9:27pm.

From what I've seen, the dogs run wild and the owners say "ain't never bit nobody" when questioned about it and consider occasionally thinking about the animal a working definition of "voice command".

I especially like it when the untethered mutt chases my golf cart. Fun fun fun.

Submitted by PTC Avenger on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 8:49pm.

This whole thing is a non-issue. I sometimes chain my dog up outside when I'm doing yardwork and I do not harm or mistreat him in anyway. My dog is not a vicious animal, quite the contrary actually, but he is very playful. I chain him up so he won't try to play with neighborhood children, do his business in other people's yards, or run around in the middle of the street and get hit by a car. He is chained up for his own safety as well as my neighbors.

I understand that there are some deadbeats out there who mistreat and abuse their dogs. Go after them on a case-by-case basis. To ban the chaining of all dogs is downright ridiculous. I will not comply with this ordinance if it is passed.

Just another way for government to intrude in people's lives. Frankly, I say mind your own business.

Submitted by iodiane on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 9:31pm.

At this time there isn't an ordinance that prohibits the long-term tethering of dogs in Fayette County. It is impossible, therefore, to "go after these deadbeats."

Submitted by PTC Avenger on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 10:03pm.

Instead of making me a criminal by banning the chaining of all dogs, even short-term, perhaps it would be wise to refocus your efforts on creating statewide awareness of neglectful practices. For starters you could lobby to have the definition of neglect changed to suit your desires. Below you will find the current definition.

Animal Cruelty (misdemeanor charge): A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals when he/she causes death or
unjustifiable physical pain or suffering to any animal by an act, an omission, or willful neglect. Willful neglect means the intentional
withholding of food and water required by an animal to prevent starvation or dehydration. O.C.G.A. 16-12-4
· Adequate food and water means food and water that is sufficient in an amount and appropriate for the particular type of
animal to prevent starvation, dehydration, or a significant risk to the animal's health from a lack of food or water. O.C.G.A. 4-
11-2, 4-13-2
· Humane care of animals means, but is not limited to, the provision of adequate heat, ventilation, sanitary shelter, and
wholesome and adequate food and water, consistent with the normal requirements and feeding habits of the animal's size,
species, and breed. O.C.G.A. 4-11-2, 4-13-2
Animal Cruelty (felony charge): A person commits the offense A person commits the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals when he or she knowingly and maliciously causes death or physical harm to an animal by rendering a part of such animal's body useless or by seriously disfiguring
such animal…(paraphrased) except for conduct otherwise permitted under state or federal law. O.C.G.A. 16-12-4

Also, I'm highly suspect of Chamblee's claims in the article.
She states, "the majority of the county’s neglect cases involve permanently tethered dogs and that the vast majority of chained dogs are permanently chained, not temporarily tethered for training or other reasonable purposes."

If that is in fact the case, then what exactly is the problem? If the majority of neglect cases that they see involve chained dogs, then isn't that ipso facto punishment for people who irresponsibly and injuriously chain them? Of course this assumes the dog owners who neglect their canines are prosecuted for their crimes, and if they're not then perhaps you should work to see that they are.

Chamblee then asserts that, "the dogs chained 'responsibly' are few, while the dogs chained permanently, neglected and/or abused are the majority." To this I say prove it. Also, I love how she put responsibly in quotes, as if to suggest that chaining your dog, even for a short amount of time and even to prevent harm to itself and others, is somehow irresponsible.

It is my opinion that this editorial is a misleading and dishonest piece used to further a radical agenda similar to PETA's.

Submitted by ATLtoPTC on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 4:27pm.

We occasionally put our dog on a tether in our front yard when we are outside working or playing or when the weather is nice and our dog can enjoy some fresh air. He is *never* outside when we are not home, and he is rarely out there for more than an hour unless we are doing major yard work. We have at least 3 neighbors who have similar tethering practices with their dogs - and not one of those dogs is ever outside alone for a significant period of time. However it is very nice that we can gather outside to socialize or have our kids play together and have our dogs enjoying the out-of-doors, too.

Now, I have seen the other side of the coin. I used to work in a school in a low income neighborhood where many many homes had "yard dogs" - many of which were permanently chained. Many of those dogs were neglected and abused, but protection/enforcement from animal control was practically non-existent. It was very sad. So sure, there are areas where Chamblee's claim that most chained dogs are neglected/abused is true, but there are other areas (like my neighborhood!) where it is definitely NOT true.

I would hate to see a law that would make it illegal for us and our neighbors to have our dogs tethered in our yard while the rest of the family is out enjoying the sunshine. Our dog likes to be outside, too, and not just for his twice daily walk. I like having our dog with us outside without having to worry about him running into the street or hanging onto a short leash while I'm chatting with my neighbor or digging in the flower bed. I understand that there are irresponsible pet owners who ignore their dogs, but prosecute *them* rather than enact broad sweeping legislation that would affect responsible pet owners.

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